WorldAffairs

The internet, GPS, voice recognition programs like Siri – many of the technologies that we use today were developed with national security in mind. These inventions and many others began as projects of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the Defense Department’s secretive military research agency. For more than fifty years, DARPA has held to a singular and enduring mission: to make pivotal investments in breakthrough technologies for national security. The genesis of that mission and of DARPA itself dates to the Cold War and the launch of Sputnik in 1957, and a commitment by the United States that it would be the initiator and not the victim of strategic technological surprises. Working with innovators inside and outside of government, DARPA has repeatedly delivered on that mission, transforming revolutionary concepts and even seeming impossibilities into practical capabilities. The ultimate results have included not only game-changing military capabilities such as precision weapons and stealth technology, but also major innovations in modern civilian society.

How do they do it? What makes this military organization such fertile ground for invention? What technologies with useful daily applications have failed to enter into civilian use? Can Silicon Valley learn from DARPA, or vice versa? Drawing on extensive interviews, declassified memos and inside sources, investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen will share insights into this top-secret organization.

Speaker Annie Jacobsen is an Investigative Journalist and Author.

The conversation is moderated by Andrew Becker, Reporter, The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1386

Direct download: 09_29_15_Annie_Jacobsen.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:00pm PDT

This week’s episode focuses on Technology and Innovation and comes in two parts. In the first half hour, we will highlight the future and where the next great innovations are likely to come from, in a conversation with Eric Schmidt of Alphabet and Tom Kalil of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In the second half of this episode, we will look to the past and what has made the great innovators of Silicon Valley. This is an excerpt from a conversation between Walter Isaacson of the Aspen Institute and Jane Wales of the World Affairs Council.

Speakers: Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet

Tom Kalil, Deputy Director of Technology and Innovation at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of the Aspen Institute

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council

Direct download: 12_14_15_Schmidt_Isaacson_Technology_Innovation.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 11:08am PDT

Israel is one of the most diverse societies in the world, often described as a mosaic. While Israelis and Arabs struggle to find lasting peace, social divides are only widening following last summer’s conflict with Hamas in Gaza. One of the largest obstacles to protecting vulnerable populations affected in both Israel and the Occupied Territories is clear policy that will expand and secure human rights. How can Israelis and Palestinians foster a culture of human rights and bring about real change in Israel across all sectors of society? The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) is Israel’s largest and oldest human rights organization, dealing with the entire spectrum of rights and civil liberties issues in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Through precedent-setting legal work, human rights education, public outreach and international advocacy, ACRI has contributed significantly to the protection and enforcement of human rights in Israel and the Occupied Territories. As Executive Director of ACRI, Sharon Abraham-Weiss takes head on some of Israel’s most challenging issues.

The conversation is moderated by Chimène Keitner, Professor of Law at the UC Hastings College of the Law.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1517

Direct download: 10_22_15_Sharon_Abraham-Weiss.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:42pm PDT

As sea levels rise, winters become harsher and crop patterns are disturbed. All eyes look towards Paris and the UN climate change conference to see if the international community can make meaningful progress towards curbing emissions. While the role of states in negotiating a treaty can be expected, what roles do philanthropy and the private sector play in creating state agendas and implementing change? This discussion will focus on the current state of the environment, what we can expect from upcoming negotiations and how we can work across sectors to implement solutions.

Speakers Guillermo Castilleja, Chief Program Officer, Environmental Conservation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, David G. Victor, Professor of International Relations, School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego, and Sissel Waage, Director, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, BSR, are in discussion.

Alicia Seiger, Deputy Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1547

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:49pm PDT

We are facing a unique and interesting time with the confluence of fundamental disruptive trends that are shaping our world. The dramatic transition witnessed since the beginning of the 21st century has been brought about by the convergence of the following: the shifting locus of economic activity and dynamism to emerging markets like China; the acceleration in the scope, scale, and economic impact of technology; changing world demographics; and global connectivity through trade and cross border flows in capital, people and information. Virtually every market in every sector has been or will be affected by the growing impacts of these trends whose multiplier effects stand to radically change long-standing expectations. In the midst of this era of disruption is opportunity. Those who are agile, forward thinking and optimistic will harness the power of disruption and thrive. Join us for a conversation about the four global forces breaking all the trends.

Speaker Thomas Friedman is a Foreign Affairs Columnist at The New York Times.

He is in conversation with James M. Manyika, Senior Partner and Director of McKinsey & Company, and Director of the McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1523

Direct download: 10_28_15_Tom_Friedman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

Recently appointed President of the United States Institute of Peace, Nancy Lindborg, will discuss the global challenge of fragility and conflict, including a vision for the way forward. Ms. Lindborg’s talk comes on the heels of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, and Ms. Lindborg’s travel to USIP projects on the ground. Ms. Lindborg’s remarks will reflect these recent events and a lifetime of working in the world’s most fragile regions at a time when the global humanitarian system is at a breaking point, with record numbers of people forcibly displaced globally.

The United States Institute of Peace was established by Congress in 1984 as an independent, nonpartisan institution to increase the nation’s capacity to manage international conflict without violence. USIP staff and partners work in some of the world’s most fragile regions including Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Middle East and North Africa.

Speaker Nancy Lindborg is President of the United States Institute of Peace.

Janes Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1514

Direct download: 10_08_15_Nancy_Lindborg.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:47pm PDT

Whether it be the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the historic nuclear deal with Iran, or the upcoming climate negotiations in Paris, the European Union and the United States are increasingly called upon to demonstrate global leadership. As EU Ambassador to the United States, David O’Sullivan plays a key role in transatlantic relations, working with all 28 EU member states in Washington, DC to coordinate and present the EU position in the United States.

Ambassador O’Sullivan will discuss policy priorities and major challenges facing the EU and the United States in 2015, including ensuring a sustainable economic recovery, dealing with emerging threats, and working to promote democracy, human rights and good governance around the world.

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, moderates the discussion.

This is a program of the World Affairs Councils of America in partnership with the Delegation of the European Union to the United States.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1521

Direct download: 10_13_15_David_O_Sullivan.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:01pm PDT

Energy efficiency is one of the easiest and most cost effective ways to curb carbon emissions, not to mention beneficial for businesses and consumers alike in terms of cost reduction. But behaviors are hard to change. Leveraging the internet and connected smart devices may be the key to incorporating energy efficient technologies and practices into everyday life, and significantly curbing carbon emissions. In developing countries, where the biggest opportunities to elevate energy productivity exist, energy efficient technologies are poised to make huge inroads. What does the future hold for the internet of things and its impact on energy usage and ultimately reducing carbon emissions?

Speaker Dora Hsu, Chief Platform Officer, SmartThings, is in discussion with Michael Soucie, Head of Consumer Product Partnerships, Nest Labs.

Adam Satariano, Technology Reporter, Bloomberg News, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1541

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Impacting_Climate_Change.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:56pm PDT

Upward mobility and the resulting growth of the middle class have long been the promise of the American dream, inspiring many to come to our shores. But technology-driven globalization, while creating great wealth and lifting many from poverty, has also left many behind. High growth economies like China, India and Nigeria are experiencing disparities that have implications for stability. And, in the US, inequality in income is the highest it has been since 1928. How can technology innovation be matched by social innovation? What will be the future of work in high and low growth economies? And how can the current and future workforce prepare for the jobs that await? These are the questions that are on the minds of some of our country’s leading technologists, including LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman. The World Affairs Council has invited Hoffman and fellow innovators to explore these questions and report out to those gathering here at WorldAffairs 2015.

Speakers

Reid Hoffman, Founder of LinkedIn and Greylock Partners
James Manyika, McKinsey Global Institute
Byron Auguste, Co-founder, Opportunity@Work
Zoe Baird, President, Markle Foundation
Moderator: Jane Wales, CEO, World Affairs Council and Global Philanthropy Forum; Vice President, The Aspen Institute

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1540

 

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_On_My_Mind_Inequality.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:52pm PDT

Experts say the next epidemic will not be a question of 'if' it will happen, but rather 'when.' With that in mind and looking at the recent catastrophic Ebola outbreak in West Africa, what are the lessons learned from this tragedy and what needs to be done to ensure it does not happen again? Governments in the affected countries played key roles in both stopping the spread of Ebola and failing to respond properly. How can troubled governments best react to epidemics? What role do the business and philanthropic communities have in the prevention of – or reaction to – an outbreak?

Julie Gerberding, Executive Vice President, Population Health, Merck & Co., Inc., is in discussion with Joia Mukherjee, Chief Medical Officer, Partners in Health.

The conversation is moderated by Eva Harris, Faculty Director, Center for Global Public Health; Professor of Infectious Disease, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1538

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Combat_Future_Epidemics.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:45pm PDT

The world is growing smaller in more ways than one – while the global population increases, covering more and more of the planet, the amount of livable, arable land diminishes in the face of a changing climate. How can we meet the needs of nine billion people while protecting the natural resources necessary for growth and prosperity? We will focus on this delicate balance and discuss ways to ensure a sustainable future, starting with our own backyard, in California.

Speaker Jonathan Foley is Executive Director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences.

Scott Shafer, Host and Reporter, The California Report; Senior Correspondent, KQED NEWSROOM, KQED, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/media-library/event/1537

Direct download: 10_16_15_WA15_Jonathan_Foley.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:40pm PDT

This week’s episode focuses on US foreign policy and national security.

The United States is currently facing many foreign policy and national security challenges: ISIS continues to threaten security and regional stability, the Syrian civil war looks no closer to resolution and is now creating a refugee crisis that extends well into the European Union; and the United States’ nascent nuclear deal with Iran still faces many hurdles. Amidst all of this, the candidates are gearing up for the US presidential election next year.

World Affairs' CEO Jane Wales sat down with former US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to get his take on this complex situation. After speaking with Secretary Gates, she continued the discussion of US foreign policy and national security with Michele Flournoy, co-founder and CEO of the Center for a New American Security.

Direct download: 10_12_15_Robert_Gates-Michele_Flournoy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 2:36pm PDT

Whether it be drawing down from two foreign wars, the advancement of ISIS in the Middle East or the recent nuclear deal with Iran, the United States is facing numerous foreign policy challenges. As a Congressman representing California for eight terms, Adam Schiff has worked closely on many of the top security issues facing the United States. He has been a leader on national security and foreign policy efforts in Congress while serving as the ranking member on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and as a member of the Benghazi Select Committee. Schiff will discuss his work in Congress to strengthen American diplomacy and reform intelligence efforts along with his thoughts on the Iran deal and what the United States needs to do to meet future foreign policy objectives.

 

Speaker Adam Schiff is the Representative of the 28th Congressional District of California of the United States House of Representatives.

 

Anja Manuel, Partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC, will moderate the discussion.

 

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1505

Direct download: 09_03_15_Adam_Schiff.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:24pm PDT

Many see China’s economic rise and growing middle class as precursors to democratization, as was the case for its neighbors in South Korea and Taiwan. This transition has not yet materialized, and some would argue that it won’t – and shouldn’t.

Is Chinese democracy inevitable? Professor Daniel Bell believes it is not, and supports many aspects of the Chinese political system, in which top leaders are selected based on merit and electoral democracy functions at the local level. While a transition to full democracy may not be necessary, many problems remain, including corruption, lack of transparency and repression of freedoms of speech and the press. Can these issues be addressed within China’s current political structure? How can reforms be instituted in certain areas without the system collapsing entirely? And what can other nations learn from the strengths of Chinese political meritocracy?

Speaker Daniel A. Bell is the Chair Professor of the Schwarzman Scholars Program at Tsinghua University.

The discussion will be moderated by Dale R. Walker,
Member of the Board of Directors for Beneficial State Bank, and Trustee of the World Affairs Council.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1501

Direct download: 09_02_15_Daniel_Bell.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:36pm PDT

Around the world, the Internet is a tool that enables economic development, government accountability and personal freedoms; the free flow of information is at the Internet’s core. But despite its rapid growth, approximately five billion people lack access to the internet, and the protections when it comes to surveillance and privacy are inadequate. As the great connecting infrastructure of the day, the Internet is also vulnerable to exploitation and the undermining of the very positive advancements it makes possible.

This special episode features "Leveraging the Disruptive Power of the Internet", a plenary discussion from the Global Philanthropy Forum Conference 2015. The conversation explores issues of equity, of access, of safety and security when it comes to the Internet and information and communication technology more broadly.

We also bring you an exclusive interview with Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the US Department of State. Under Secretary Novelli discusses cybersecurity, trade, Internet governance and freedom and data privacy.

Direct download: 08_24_15_Internet_Novelli.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:36am PDT

Access to water has been declared an international human right, but it may be increasingly difficult to enforce. This episode explores how countries around the world are coping with the growing demand and greater environmental challenges that impact water supply. What happens when systems put into place to protect the environment obstruct our ability to access a basic human necessity? What does it mean when you have to choose between drinking, planting, or washing?

Direct download: 08_04_15_Water_Access.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:36am PDT

Innovation and entrepreneurship often conjure images of Silicon Valley and startups growing out of garages. But this sort of creativity is found all over the world, with innovators operating in black markets and informal economies and developing original solutions to many and diverse challenges.

What does innovation look like at the margins of business and society? What lessons can we learn from the practices of hackers, pirates, gang members and dissidents, and how can we apply these ideas to formal markets? Alexa Clay will share stories of the underground innovators that make up what she calls the Misfit Economy.

Speaker Alexa Clay is Co-founder of the League of Intrapreneurs.

Jason Rissman, Managing Director of OpenIDEO, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1486

Direct download: 07_29_15_Alexa_Clay.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:29am PDT

In September, UN member states will vote on the Sustainable Development Goals, which, if approved, will come into effect in January 2016. The second of these 17 goals calls for ending hunger and achieving food security. This is an ambitious target to hit by 2030 — in the world today, about one in nine people do not have enough to eat.

As the global population continues its rapid growth, this problem seems likely to grow as well. By 2050, the world will have 2 billion more mouths to feed, many of whom will be born in rice-producing and -consuming countries. Today, about two-thirds of the world’s hungry live in Asia, where water-intensive rice is a staple crop, raising questions about the role of climate change and water scarcity in the food security equation. How can we increase production while protecting the environment and its limited resources? To what extent will genetic engineering or a change in diets be necessary to achieve this goal? How can we ensure food security for a planet of nine billion?

Speaker Josette Lewis, Associate Director of the World Food Center at UC Davis, and Robert Stewart Zeigler, Director General of the International Rice Research Institute, will be in discussion.

Andrew Donohue, Senior Editor at Reveal, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1491

Direct download: 07_28_15_Feeding_Billion.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:19am PDT

What if you could combine the adaptability, agility and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization?

When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2003, he quickly realized that conventional military leadership approaches were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly and seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

To defeat Al Qaeda in Iraq, McChrystal and his colleagues discarded a century of conventional wisdom and remade the task force, in the midst of a grueling war, into something new: a network that combined transparent communication with decentralized decision-making authority. The walls between silos were torn down. Leaders looked at the best practices of the smallest units and found ways to extend them to thousands of people on three continents, using technology to establish a oneness that would have been impossible even a decade or two earlier. The task force became a “team of teams”—faster, flatter, more flexible—and beat back Al Qaeda.

McChrystal will discuss the challenges he and his team faced in Iraq and how they have be relevant to businesses, nonprofits and other organizations. He argues that the team of teams' strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA and has the potential to transform organizations large and small.

Speaker Stanley McChrystal, US Army General (Ret.) and Co-founder and Partner, McChrystal Group, is in conversation with Joseph H. Felter, US Army Colonel (Ret.) and Board Member of the Marines' Memorial Association.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1487

Direct download: 07_15_15_General_McChrystal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:18am PDT

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement being negotiated among 12 countries, including the US, has sparked a heated debate about trade agreements with many proponents and detractors speaking out about the potential economic impact of the TPP on the US economy. Some key areas in the agreement include: intellectual property rights, telecommunications, state-owned enterprises, investment, labor and environmental standards. Attention has also been focused on the negotiating process and the role of Congress in setting negotiating objectives and interacting with the executive branch in the implementation of those objectives.

Join us for a discussion about the projected near and longer-term economic and other benefits of the TPP, and why the TPP has become the centerpiece of President Obama’s global trade agenda.

Speaker Timothy Reif is General Counsel of Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Lionel C. Johnson, President of the Pacific Pension Institute, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1490

Direct download: 07_20_15_Timothy_Reif.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:14am PDT

In 2010, the UN passed a resolution recognizing access to water as a basic human right. The realization of this right is becoming increasingly difficult, as climate change disrupts rainfall and the growing global population places greater demands on this limited resource.

In the face of the current drought, California is seeking ways to cut back on water usage and find alternate sources to meet domestic, agricultural and other demands. And this isn't an isolated incident – countries around the world are facing similar challenges and looking for solutions of their own. In Brazil, a country that has one-eighth of the world’s fresh water, Sao Paolo is facing a critical water shortage, with water reserves dropping below 10 percent. India is struggling to meet the needs of its rapidly growing population and address pollution that makes much of the available water unsafe for use. Israel has built five desalinization plants since 2005, which provide about 80 percent of the country’s water for domestic use – but some worry about the environmental consequences of this solution. Australia, the driest inhabited continent on earth, has turned to desalination plants as well, with mixed results.

How can countries adapt, and what solutions are already being implemented successfully? What role should governments, businesses and individuals play in addressing this challenge? As water scarcity becomes more common, how can we ensure that the right to water is met?

Speaker Peter Gleick is the President and Co-Founder of the Pacific Institute.

Craig Miller, Science Editor at KQED, moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1485

Direct download: 07_15_15_Peter_Gleick.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:23am PDT

People around the world will interact with Africa very differently over the coming decades. They will be more likely to trade stocks in Ghana, work for companies doing business on the continent and learn the names of African tech moguls and billionaires. The old narrative of an Africa disconnected from the global economy and mired in conflict is rapidly fading as the continent transforms itself into a global powerhouse. Pushing this transformation is a wave of modernization, technological innovations and a growing pool of talented Africans changing their countries not only from within but also from abroad. What impact will Silicon Valley have on the tech boom in Africa? How should policy makers and business leaders view these changes throughout the continent? 

This panel discussion will feature expert researchers and entrepreneurs with deep connections to Africa and its business community. Jake Bright and Aubrey Hruby will offer a nuanced and data-rich analysis to a complex continent while reconciling its challenges with rapid progress. Entrepreneur Chris Folayan will discuss his work developing new platforms to bring e-commerce to Nigeria and other nations.

The conversation is moderated by Quentin Hardy, Deputy Technology Editor at The New York Times.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1488

Direct download: 07_08_15_Next_Africa.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:35am PDT

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s visit highlights the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN, part of a larger trip to the Bay Area to commemorate the San Francisco Conference, where the charter establishing the UN was signed in 1945.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1481

 

Direct download: 06_26_15_Ban_Ki-moon.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:07am PDT

The rise of China has put many countries around the world on notice. Some may see it as an exciting shift in the world order, and others may approach it with caution. However, no country feels China's rise more deeply than Japan. Dr. Sheila Smith, an expert on Japanese and regional politics, will discuss how Japan’s relationship with a rising China influences Japanese domestic and foreign policy. Whether it be conflicts in the East China Sea, managing a volatile North Korea or strategies of island defense, Smith will explore the policy issues testing the Japanese government as it tries to navigate this storied and often complex relationship.

Speaker Sheila Smith is Senior Fellow for Japan Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

The discussion is moderated by Jeffrey Bleich, former United States Ambassador to Australia.

For more information about this visit please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1479

Direct download: 06_25_15_Sheila_Smith.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:38am PDT

In the face of armed conflicts and natural disasters, civilians must cope not only with the immediate violence and destruction but also with displacement, disrupted economic and political systems and the disintegration of public services. As with the ongoing conflict in Syria or the devastating earthquake in Nepal, many of those effected by crises depend on the support of international agencies to meet basic needs.

The International Committee of the Red Cross has been providing these critical services for over 150 years. Today, they are working to reconnect family members separated by the earthquake in Nepal, provide urgent medical care in Yemen and distribute food and water in Syria, among many other efforts. How does this assistance vary to meet the needs of crises around the world? What are the most pressing needs, and the greatest obstacles in providing them? How has the ICRC evolved to address the myriad challenges facing the world today, and what is the outlook for the future?

Speaker Yves Daccord is the Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Moderator Nancy A. Jarvis is an Attorney at Farrand Cooper, P.C.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1473

Direct download: 06_23_15_Yves_Daccord.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:09am PDT

When famine struck North Korea in the 1990s, Joseph Kim was five years old. In the years that followed, the Great Famine killed millions, including Joseph’s father. His mother and sister disappeared, seeking to escape to China, and Joseph was left to survive alone and homeless. After years living on the streets and, for a time, in a detention center and labor camp, Joseph fled to China as well. Through the kindness of strangers, he eventually found his way to the United States.

Joseph will share his story of suffering and survival – his experiences in North Korea, his long and difficult journey to the United States and his life here today as a student, an author and a refugee.

This program is presented in partnership with the Asia Society of Northern California.

Speaker Joseph Kim is a North Korean Defector; Author, "Under the Same Sky"

The discussion is moderated by Daniel Sneider, Associate Director for Research of the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1467

Direct download: 06_16_15_Joseph_Kim.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

America has long been seen as a land of opportunity where, through hard work and perseverance, an individual can achieve prosperity and success. This is the American dream. Today, however, this ideal seems harder to realize, as income inequality grows and social mobility appears to have slowed.

In addition to income inequality, Professor Robert Putnam suggests that there is also a growing inequality of opportunity. For many children in lower income families, systemic obstacles – economic, social and political – become insurmountable and prevent social mobility and the realization of the American dream. What has caused this trend away from equal opportunity in the US? How can we address the crisis of inequality and shorten the opportunity gap? Professor Putnam will delve into this complex problem and its multifaceted solution, which he says begins with a commitment to invest in other people’s children.

Speaker Robert D. Putnam is the Peter and Isabel Malkin Professor of Public Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government of Harvard University.

The discussion will be moderated by Larry Kramer, President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1476

Direct download: 06_10_15_Robert_Putnam.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:35am PDT

In recent months, a resurgence of extremist, ultranationalist and antisemitic violence has shaken many cities in Europe. Coupled with the growth of right-wing political parties, this outbreak of violence - and the environment that enables it - threatens to corrode the fundamental values of the European Union from within. Discrimination against Jews, Roma, immigrant populations and the LGBT community has emerged not only among the civilian population, but in the political sphere as well. A year ago in the European Parliament elections, voters in half of the European Union’s 28 countries elected representatives from far-right parties whose leaders have expressed antisemitic, xenophobic, racist, homophobic, anti-Muslim or anti-Roma sentiments.

Human Rights First President and CEO Elisa Massimino will discuss how the rise of extremism in Europe is threatening liberal democracy and the human rights and security of minority communities, endangering the transatlantic trade agreement and making it more difficult for Europe to address the growing migration crisis.

Speaker Elisa Massimino is the President and CEO of Human Rights First.

Katerina Linos, Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law moderates the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit:
http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1470

Direct download: 06_03_15_Elisa_Massimino.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:26am PDT

Last year, Russia surprised the world by seizing control of Crimea. When the Russian parliament voted on this military action, there was only one dissenting voice – Ilya Ponomarev. Now, living in the United States, barred from returning home, Ponomarev has continued his political participation in absentia.

In Putin’s Russia, acting in opposition to the government can be a risky choice. In 2012, two members of a punk band called Pussy Riot were arrested for their performance in a Moscow cathedral. Anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny was placed under house arrest in 2013. And in March, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was fatally shot just outside the walls of the Kremlin. How long can this government maintain control by silencing these voices of opposition? Can military action in Eastern Ukraine and elsewhere succeed in drawing attention away from mounting economic and political challenges? With elections scheduled for next year, what is the future of Putin’s government? And what is the future of relations between Russia and the United States?

Speaker Ilya Ponomarev is a member of the Russian State Duma.

The conversation will be moderated by Edward W. Walker, Executive Director, Program in Eurasian and East European Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1460

Direct download: 05_20_15_Ilya_Ponomarev.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:52pm PDT

Last month, a massive earthquake hit Nepal. While this event had been predicted for years, it still caught many unaware and unprepared. Thousands lost their lives, and many thousands more lost homes, loved ones and livelihoods. With the quake and its aftershocks behind us, attention has now turned to the challenges of rebuilding.

How are NGOs and other organizations addressing both the physical reconstruction and the provision of necessary services such as clean water, sanitation and healthcare? How did the Nepalese government prepare for and respond to this long-predicted disaster, and where did they fall short? How does this earthquake and the international response compare to similar events, such as Haiti’s 2010 crisis? And what can we lessons can we take away to help limit the losses next time?

Speakers Elizabeth Hausler, Founder and CEO of Build Change, Birger Stamperdahl, President and CEO of Give2Asia, and Norbu Tenzing, Vice President of the American Himalayan Foundation, will hold a panel discussion.

David D. Arnold, President of the Asia Foundation, will moderate the conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1471

Direct download: 05_13_15_Rebuilding_Nepal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:51am PDT

In this pilot episode of the World Affairs podcast we are looking at diseases: how they are spread, how they are contained, how they are cured. We reached out to learn more about how recent disease outbreaks have affected those in our community and what health professionals are doing to prevent the next deadly pandemic on local and global scales. In this episode you'll hear from Alex Karolyi, a Bay Area dad who had a trip planned to Disneyland that coincided with a recent measles outbreak; Adam Crawley, an epidemiologist and research associate at the Skoll Global Threats Fund; Peter Robertson, former Vice Chairman at Chevron, and now an Independent Energy Advisor with Deloitte; and Larry Brilliant, who took part in the World Health Organization's smallpox eradication program, and is now Senior Advisor for the Skoll Global Threats Fund.

Direct download: 03_02_15_Global_Epidemics-podcast.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 9:22am PDT

Drones have become a regular, if controversial, part of US military operations. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, in Libya and against ISIS, these unmanned crafts are frequently put to use against specific targets, while keeping US soldiers out of the line of fire.

However, the strikes that hit the headlines are only one part of the story. According to investigative journalist Chris Woods, a secret war has been underway for years, with drones in the air over Somalia, Pakistan, Yemen and others, searching for militant and terrorist targets. How have armed drones changed the face of modern warfare? What are the implications for US foreign policy decisions? And how does the drone program affect America’s reputation abroad?

Speaker Chris Woods is an investigative journalist. He will be in conversation with Andrew Becker, reporter at The Center for Investigative Reporting.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1456

Direct download: 05_06_15_Chris_Woods.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:31pm PDT

The war in Syria, now in its fifth year, has created a refugee crisis. Almost 4 million Syrians have fled the country, and another 7.6 million have been displaced within Syria. In total, this conflict has forced half of the country’s population from their homes.

In this episode of WorldAffairs, we’re sharing two perspectives—the analytic and the personal—on this complex issue. First, we’ll hear from three experts who either observe or make policy: Filippo Grandi of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees, David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, and Vali Nasr, Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. In the second half of the program, we’ll hear stories from those who see and feel the human dimension of this crisis: among them are Anisa Abeytia, from the NorCal Syrian American Council, Feras Alhlou, a volunteer and advocate and Christine Lemonda, from the International Rescue Committee.

For more information about our new podcast programs please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/podcast

Direct download: 04_16_15_Syrian_Refugees-podcast.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 5:35pm PDT

How can we understand the intricate web of agendas and interests between the US, Israel and Iran? Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the US are ongoing, as Israel continues to voice its concerns over the possibility of a nuclear armed neighbor. In Israel’s March 17 election, Prime Minister Netanyahu was re-elected to a fourth term in office, and his party now faces the delicate task of forming a coalition government. Add to the mix Netanyahu’s controversial appearance before US Congress and Republican senators’ recent letter to Tehran, and the questions are only magnified.

How might Netanyahu’s re-election, and the composition of the new government, impact Israel’s domestic and foreign policy decisions? Can the US come to an agreement with Iran without harming its longstanding friendship with Israel? What might an agreement mean for Iran politically and economically? In light of the overall instability in the Middle East, how do Israel on the one hand, and Iran on the other, think about their regional positions? Finally, what does the future look like for the complex ties between these three nations?

Speakers Abbas M. Milani, Research Fellow and Co-Director, Iran Democracy Project, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and Janine Zacharia, Carlos Kelly McClatchy Visiting Lecturer, Department of Communications, Stanford University, will be in discussion.

Jane Wales, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council, will moderate the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1450

Direct download: 04_01_15_Israel_Iran_US.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:09am PDT

Poverty is often thought of as an economic issue, to be addressed through loans and other financial services. However, this is only one piece of the larger puzzle. Poor health can keep an individual from work or a natural disaster may destroy homes, crops and other resources. Lack of education limits opportunities for employment and higher wages. In order for the poor to escape poverty, they require the tools to fight it across all fronts. BRAC (Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee), a development organization focused on alleviating poverty, therefore works with communities on a wide range of initiatives, from agriculture and food security to education and gender equality, in order to provide all the necessary tools for growth.

How does promoting gender equality, education and human rights aid in the fight to end poverty? BRAC’s founder, Sir Fazle Hasan Abed, will share his insights on poverty alleviation and the power of education, as well as BRAC’s growth and evolution over the past 40 years.

Sir Fazle has received several national and international awards for his achievements in leading BRAC, including the David Rockefeller Bridging Leadership Award (2008), Inaugural Clinton Global Citizen Award (2007) and Gates Award for Global Health (2004). The British crown knighted him in recognition of his services to reducing poverty in Bangladesh and internationally.

Speaker Fazle Hasan Abed is the Founder and Chairperson of BRAC.

Catherine Muther, President of the Three Guineas Fund, moderates the discussion.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1438

Direct download: 03_31_15_Fazle_Hasan_Abed.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:57am PDT

Digital currency platforms have the potential to disrupt the global financial infrastructure and change the way that people and institutions exchange value. With the ability to transfer funds instantly to anywhere in the world by anyone, digital currencies hold the promise of providing financial inclusion to those underserved or unserved by the traditional financial institutions, and transforming the global financial ecosystem. Please join us for a discussion of the future of digital currencies, and the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Speakers Brian Armstrong, Founder and CEO, Coinbase, Joyce Kim, Executive Director, Stellar.org, and Elizabeth Stark, Founder, StartBitcoin.org, participate in the panel discussion.

Cory Johnson, Anchor and Editor-At-Large, Bloomberg Television, moderates the conversation.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1442

Direct download: 03_25_15_Digital_Currencies.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 1:34pm PDT

Throughout Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, the United States employs private military contractors to carry out its objectives. While US firms dominate the market, warlords and militias have restyled themselves as private security companies in places like Afghanistan and Somalia. These private entities have become an integral part of the United States' defense strategy — the US can no longer go to war without contractors.

How does military contracting actually operate? What does the proliferation of private forces suggest about the future of war and international relations? Sean McFate, a former paratrooper in the US Army and previous employee of a military contractor, will discuss these questions and share his unique perspective on this growing industry.

This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Sean McFate is Assistant Professor at the National Defense University, and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.

The conversation will be moderated by Christopher Starling, Director of Military and Veteran Affairs, Marines’ Memorial Club.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1425

Direct download: 03_24_15_Sean_McFate.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:07am PDT

Climate change has long been a topic that inspires concern, but little action. While signs of its impact have slowly increased, it seems not to pose an imminent enough threat to initiate a global attempt to slow its progress. However, if we wait for the threat to become imminent, it may be too late to respond.

According to Gernot Wagner, lead senior economist at the Environmental Defense Fund, we should begin thinking about responding to climate change in the same way we think about our health or car insurance - as a way of managing potential risk. Wagner will share his insights on the political and economic barriers to preemptive action, the economic consequences of a hotter planet and the extreme responses, such as geoengineering, that will likely come from waiting too long to act.

Speaker Gernot Wagner is a Lead Senior Economist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1424

Direct download: 03_17_15_Gernot_Wagner.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:22pm PDT

The Middle East faces many and diverse challenges. Nuclear talks with Iran move slowly, with deadlines repeatedly pushed back. The Islamic State retains its hold on large swaths of Iraq and Syria and the rise of extremism threatens regional and international stability. Oil prices have fallen, impacting economies across the region and the world. The recent succession in Saudi Arabia raises questions about the outlook for this key US ally. With all of these factors in play, the outlook for 2015 is indeed uncertain.

Vali Nasr, Middle East expert and former senior advisor to the US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, will discuss these challenges and how they could impact international stability and security.

This event is presented in partnership with the Marines' Memorial Association.

Speaker Vali R. Nasr is the Dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

The discussion will be moderated by Anja Lucia Manuel, Partner at RiceHadleyGates LLC.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1427

Direct download: 03_16_15_Vali_Nasr.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 10:12pm PDT

Around the world, nearly 800 million people are illiterate. That means one out of every 10 people would have a hard time reading this sentence. While global literacy rates improved over the last 25 years, progress has since stalled, especially for women and girls. And this isn’t only a developing world problem – 32 million Americans can’t read and write.

Today, literacy is as complex as it is powerful. What it means to be literate in different contexts is changing rapidly as digital skills become increasingly important and technology grows more sophisticated and more available. These advances create new and exciting opportunities to tackle basic literacy challenges, and produce new literacy challenges in their own right.

Educators and organizations all over the world are working hard in their communities to understand and address these issues. Literacy organizations such as Room to Read and Reading Partners are facing these challenges head-on whether in India, South Africa or right here in San Francisco. And Project Literacy, a major new campaign convened by Pearson in partnership with GOOD Magazine and others, seeks to make significant and sustainable advances in literacy over the next five years so that by 2030, no child will be born at risk of poor literacy.

Join us for this panel discussion to learn more about the scale of global illiteracy, the dimensions of the crisis as it breaks down along gender and class lines and the opportunities for intervention.

Speakers Erin Ganju, CEO and Co-Founder, Room to Read, Kate James, Chief Corporate Affairs Officer, Pearson, and Michael Lombardo, CEO, Reading Partners, will be in discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1433

Direct download: 03_12_15_Global_Illteracy.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:36am PDT

Pakistan faces many security challenges, both within and along its borders. The Taliban maintains a stronghold along the border with Afghanistan; the conflict with India over control of Kashmir has worsened in recent months; and in December Pakistan suffered the deadliest terrorist attack in its history when Pakistani Taliban attacked a school in Peshawar, killing over 100 students.

However, some positive signs of change have emerged. The Pakistani army has ramped up efforts to combat the Taliban and other militants. Relations with Afghanistan have improved since Ashraf Ghani was elected president, promising greater security cooperation along the border. And US Secretary of State John Kerry is working to help India and Pakistan mend relations. Will these efforts be enough to ensure future stability? Pakistan expert Christine Fair will discuss Pakistan’s security concerns and the outlook for this complex region.

Speaker Christine Fair is Assistant Professor of Security Studies Program for the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

For more information please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1422

Direct download: 03_04_15_Christine_Fair.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:37am PDT

Jason Furman has served as the chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers since August of 2013. In this role, he is charged with offering the president objective economic advice on the formulation of both domestic and international economic policy. Furman will discuss trends shaping the US economy, opportunities for future economic growth and public policy considerations to ensure that growth is sustainable and shared.

Speaker Jason Furman is the Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

The conversation is moderated by James M. Manyika, Senior Partner and Director, McKinsey & Company; Director, McKinsey Global Institute.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1398

Direct download: 02_25_15_Jason_Furman.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:19am PDT

Nearly a century has passed since the Armenian Genocide, but the repercussions of the event still shape relations between Armenia and Turkey, as well as US policy in the region.

The most recent round of discussions on normalizing Armenian-Turkish relations broke down in 2010. The two nations have not established diplomatic relations, their border remains closed and Armenians still seek formal recognition of the genocide from the Turkish government. On the international stage, the US seeks a stronger ally in Armenia to help advance its policies in the region. Neighboring both Turkey and Iran, and with close ties to Russia, Armenia has great geostrategic significance for the US. Improved relations between Armenia and Turkey would also advance US interests, as it could lead to greater stability in the region as a whole.

Thomas de Waal, an expert on the politics and conflicts of the South Caucasus, will discuss how the Armenian Genocide has shaped contemporary politics both within the region and beyond.

Speaker Thomas de Waal is a Senior Associate for the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Keith David Watenpaugh, Director, Human Rights Initiative, University of California, Davis, will moderate the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1396

Direct download: 02_19_15_Thomas_de_Waal.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 6:56am PDT

Cuba and the US are rekindling relations, after more than 50 years of Cold War inspired isolation. Obama announced in December that the US would reestablish diplomatic ties, open an embassy in Havana and lift further restrictions on travel, commerce and communications. While the embargo will remain in effect without action by Congress, and concerns remain about prospects for human rights and democracy in Cuba, Obama's executive order marks a historic change in US-Cuban relations.

These developments came after months of secret negotiations, facilitated by the Canadian government. The former Canadian Ambassador to Cuba, Mark Entwistle, will share his perspective on the negotiations, their outcome and what to expect going forward.

Speaker Mark Entwistle is the Former Ambassador of Canada to Cuba, and Founding Partner of Acasta Capital.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1415

Direct download: 02_05_15_Mark_Entwistle.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 12:08pm PDT

Following the 1979 Revolution, many Iranians hoped to see democracy emerge in their country. Instead, theocracy filled the political vacuum, stifling political discourse and restricting the freedom of Iranian citizens. Much has changed in the intervening years - the middle class is growing, more women are attending college and a moderate president has taken office. However, broader political change still seems distant. The Supreme Leader remains the highest authority and internet censorship and restrictions on freedom of the press continue. Iran appears to be on the path towards reform, but it may a long journey.

Born in Iran shortly before the 1979 Revolution, Nazila Fathi spent two decades as an Iranian correspondent for the New York Times. She fled the country in 2009, fearing for the safety of her family after defying a ban on media coverage of the Green Revolution. Fathi will share her firsthand experiences of Iran's transformation and her thoughts on where the country is headed.

Nazila Fathi, Journalist, Translator and Commentator, will speak.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/event-calendar/event/1395

Direct download: 01_29_15_Nazila_Fathi.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:43am PDT

In today’s shifting global economy countries must often make rapid transitions to meet the increased demands of globalization. In the midst of this, it is easy for everyday citizens to ignore or forget what these transitions involve, where they take place and who is most affected by them.

Chad Broughton will examine these global effects and specifically the US – Mexico relationship through the lens of industrial manufacturing in two North American towns. As thousands of jobs have migrated from the United States to Mexico, Broughton argues that what truly matters in debating the consequences of the shift is not just politics or policy implications, but also who is affected and where these changes take place. Broughton will share the voices of those who have borne the heaviest burdens of recent economic upheavals by putting a human face to the constant cycle of global manufacturing and looking at the true cost of globalization.

Chad Broughton, Senior Lecturer, Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago, will be in conversation.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1397

Direct download: 01_20_15_Chad_Broughton.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:06am PDT

The Middle East is a complex strategic question for the United States due to its evolving and unpredictable nature. What is the plan for Syria and Iraq? How much of a threat to our national security is ISIS? What about Iran? What will happen in Afghanistan as the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reduces its footprint?

General Lloyd J. Austin, Commander of the US Central Command, will share his insights on US military operations in the Middle East and future security concerns for the region.

Speaker Lloyd J Austin is the Commander of the United States Central Command.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1402

Direct download: 01_09_15_CENTCOM.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 8:41am PDT

The vast majority of the world's poor lack access to formal financial services. Faced with small incomes and little or no support from banks or other financial institutions, individuals struggle to save enough money to have a significant impact on their lives.

For more than four decades, the microfinance sector has provided small loans to help support the self-help efforts of micro-entrepreneurs. While these loans are powerful tools, when taken alone, they are not nearly enough to help the poor climb out of poverty.

Microfinance clients need other services, such as a safe place to save money, access to health services, financial education and other tools to help them make meaningful and sustainable progress out of poverty. As the digital and mobile landscapes continue to evolve, the microfinance sector is poised to innovate and serve more clients with a wider range of tools and services than ever before.

How are microfinance organizations serving their clients with an appropriate mix of services that help them escape poverty for good? How can disruptive technologies like mobile banking assist in this mission? What advances have we seen in this field and what challenges lie on the horizon?

The panel of speakers includes Alex Counts, President and CEO, Grameen Foundation, Steve Hollingworth, President, Freedom from Hunger, and Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO, Women's World Banking.

Maya Chorengel, Co-Founder, Elevar Equity, will moderate the discussion.

For more information about this event please visit: http://www.worldaffairs.org/events/event/1392

Direct download: 01_07_14_Microfinancing.mp3
Category:News & Politics -- posted at: 7:49am PDT

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